Until recently, there was a clear recipe for success in media and entertainment: multiple revenue streams, scarce distribution outlets, and distinct exploitation windows. To thrive in today’s (and tomorrow’s) environment, however, companies need to drive both innovation and efficiency, embracing new approaches to content development, distribution, operations, technology, and monetization. In short, they need to adapt their strategies, capabilities, and operating models to address several key imperatives:
Cost structures for content need to be significantly reduced. Consumer time and spending are shifting to digital, but media companies’ ability to monetize consumer engagement in the digital arena is well below what it is in analog media. As a result, media companies need to fundamentally reduce the cost of their content. Key levers include introducing more variable cost by maintaining fewer staff editors and content producers and instead managing networks of external contributors; developing greater scale and consistency in approaches to content production and technology; and attacking fixed costs through centralization, outsourcing, offshoring, and portfolio rationalization.
Advertisers are demanding more accountability, relevance and interactivity. Spending on traditional paid media is coming under growing pressure as advertisers devote more resources to digital, database marketing, event marketing, place-based media and even loyalty programs. This shift requires media companies to increase their focus on innovation and ROI as they craft advertising solutions. It is also creating opportunities to build new businesses around lead generation, custom media, and marketing services.
Technology shifts are affecting the value of content and distribution. Consumers are no longer satisfied just to enjoy print, video, or other forms of entertainment and information passively. In today’s search-driven world, consumers are actively looking for control, community, and interactivity. Ad-supported media companies, therefore, need to develop a robust digital toolkit to build premium inventory, whether in targeted and tagged site areas, interest-specific e-newsletters, or registration-required applications. The goal for media companies: move from creating impressions to building relationships with consumers, both directly and on behalf of marketers. New strategies combining content and applications can offer significant value to media and entertainment companies across both traditional and digital media. For example, companies can use relationship marketing strategies to drive consumers to stores, theatres, and other screens as well as to activate other desirable actions.
Online video, social media and mobile media are expanding rapidly. Media and entertainment companies need to ensure they participate actively in the growth platforms of the future. Making this happen will require mastering a new set of skills and strategies involving portfolio and business development, software, and technology. Creating a successful culture of innovation will also be a key element of the path forward. For many media companies, this will require greater openness in innovation processes, and the need to embrace more systematic “test and learn” approaches—trying many things, but scaling up only those that work.
Positions in emerging markets have become the key to long-term growth. Global media and entertainment industry growth will be fed primarily from the emerging markets of Latin America, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. Across these regions, the multimedia landscape is developing rapidly; and, in many cases, traditional barriers associated with distribution and regulation is no longer that significant. Companies looking for growth need to be evaluating partnerships and acquisitions that result in a greater exposure to these geographies.
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